Vision for 2030
Looking out from my straw and cob home, over the thriving farm and forest garden, I wonder how we made this dream happen. How did we manage to unite with such immediacy to turn round a sinking ship whilst building the new one - where we dwell with greater happiness and peace at no cost to nature or other beings. Not only did we avoid the worst of a likely climate catastrophe, but we also took the opportunity to completely redesign our society and ways of living. This was nothing short of a consciousness shift, translated into major transformation in every sector of society. I felt the shift in my personal life, reflected in my change from a consumer to a producer, from a fossil fuel addiction to a carbon neutral way of living, and most importantly from a separate individual to a being interconnected with others and nature. However - Let's be clear: humanity suffered from the climate crisis. Collectively we underwent a trauma, which some people, some countries felt the worst of. But we responded to the crying and the bloodshed, we listened to our brothers and sisters in other countries and we listened to the Earth weeping. We responded to the collective trauma as we would to a personal trauma - we felt the suffering and became stronger, more resilient and wiser in the post-trauma. We realised that the trauma was a symptom of a sick society, a sick planet, and a sick system - we recognised the need to change everything to ensure the trauma did not come back or hurt future generations.
What if we position ourselves in the year 2030 and allow our hearts to imagine that we made the right decisions, that we acted collectively and transformed society in 10 historic years.
In 2030, we look back and wonder: How did we manage in the face of such trauma? The answer reveals that we are interdependent beings, and we needed each other. This was a journey of discovering dependence. Realising our humility through our dependence on nature and on each other. Our connection to each other was not the only coping mechanism for those times of change. We also had a vision. We dared to imagine the peak of the mountain. We took inspiration from the transition towns movement, from permaculture, from circular economies, from indigenous people and all of the positive solutions in the world, including those undiscovered. This vision required us to be kids again, to imagine, to create, to be story makers and story tellers. Now, in 2030, I can describe the vision retrospectively, by simply describing what is around me and what has shifted in 12 historic years.
Starting with the foundations, the land. Severe and regular food shocks, crop failures and famines alerted humanity to the fragility and madness of our agricultural system. Mass extinction of species and cultures, alongside the loss of key pollinators and natural habitats emphasised the need to transform the way we use land. What followed on from these realisations was a resurgence of the small scale, productive farms and market gardens of last century. I remember market gardens and urban farms cropping up everywhere around the city of Bath. Fruit and nut orchards in every community, the fruits of which are now enjoyed by the next generation who are born into a world of abundance rather than the war zone of scarcity that it could have been. We have reforested the hills surrounding the Avon. It is an injustice to call this a city now, for the green belt sees no boundary, it is everywhere, each street buzzing with life - literally, as the rooftop beekeepers provide honey for local business and the daily farmers market, a market which is the true heart of city life, rather than the Southgate shopping centre that predated it, a shopping centre now converted to a creating and productive learning space, where clothes are made from local hemp and kitchenware is carved from the wood of a cherry tree.
The air is still recovering, as are the lungs of the planet, as the Amazon is replanted and rewilded. The city of Bath, once harbouring illegal levels of air pollution, has only recently dropped into the safe zone, through a rapid transformation of our transport system combined with the greening of the city and mass reforestation programmes. Car use has dropped by 80% (similar to what has been witnessed during war times). Public transport is easy, safe, regular, reliable, affordable and fuelled by renewable sources. The tram system is back and allows a pleasant and social commute for Baths residents on the hills.
We are re-learning what community means, and learning fast. This initially required us going out of our comfort zones, talking to each other, supporting each other, and spending more time in communal areas rather than our private boxes. The introduction of the 4 day working week has meant that we have more time to connect to the people that live around us, whilst lowering our emissions and need to transport ourselves. Furthermore, we feel less desire to travel far and escape, for we are comfortable and content here, in our gardens of Eden enjoying each new season and every bountiful harvest. In the evenings, we sit out with our neighbours sharing locally grown food (if not our own from the allotment), sharing stories, teaching each other's children new skills, be it fixing a bike or carving a spoon. We no longer feel the need for television. We no longer need to over consume - we are satisfied and have all that we need. When we ask what has replaced the consumerism and individualism of the past, we find one underlying answer: reconnection. Reconnection to our humanity, to ourselves, to other humans, and to nature. This force of love is what has replaced the unhappy days of seeking more and trying to be better. It is love and truth that guide us now, rather than fear and pretending.
Looking back on the whirlwind of the last 12 years, I marvel at the people that challenged the system and called for change when it was the elephant in the room, but nothing was happening. In 2019, emissions were still rising, business as usual continued. Climate chaos was beginning to take its toll. I marvel at those who stood up first against the norms, and united and fought until the movement became the norm, the penny dropped and humanity began its collective response. We reached that tipping point through perseverance, resilience and mutual support for each other. We witnessed the miraculous transformation to avoid climate breakdown and extinction. My message to those people in 2019, facing the collective trauma: this earth is worth fighting for. As I watch my children play on the farm, chasing the chickens, dancing with the butterflies and enjoying the fruits of the orchard, I can tell you - our children and all future generations are worth fighting for. Keep this vision in your mind, keep any vision in your mind that provides you with the spiritual strength you need, But be warned, there is no use being attached to a particular outcome, or expecting a particular outcome. You live in an uncertain time and those that draw the most strength ask a different question - ask instead what outcome do I want to fight for? Which path of humanity do I want to channel my energy and love? You are alive at this moment in time for a reason, you are here with your unique energy and gifts for a reason.
By Hamish Evans
Middlegroundgrowers.com Veg boxes, farmers markets and wholesale